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The guns are out for Gordo's challenger

'Burying' primary results is bad news for Johnson - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

ALAN JOHNSON’S image as the “nice guy” of the Cabinet was dented yesterday when he became embroiled in allegations that his aides had attempted to bury the bad news of poor primary school test results last month. The news represents a blow to the Education Secretary, who will be a candidate for the position of deputy leader of the Labour Party and has been mentioned in connection with the leadership.
The dispute centres on the decision of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to publish two important sets of school results, primary school tests and GCSEs, on the same day. A series of e-mails made public yesterday showed that civil servants at the department had cautioned repeatedly against the clash, pointing out that they had been published on different days in previous years. But their concerns were overruled and officials were told that the Education Secretary’s special advisers “positively want” the results published on the same day. Both sets of figures were published at 9.30am on August 24. The GCSE results rose for the eighteenth successive year.

However, the primary school test results revealed falling standards in reading, writing and maths among seven-year-olds and standards among 11-year-olds which stalled well below government targets.

The smoking gun email
which The Times doesn't link to - come on hyperlinky thingy are what the web is about chaps, get with it.


In criminal circles, there is something known as "the stiletto defence." This is where, more than one person being suspected of a crime, each accuses the other(s). Juries usually decide that they are all guilty.

Brown's and Johnson's people, in briefing against each other, are indulging in a political version of this.

The public perception now is that "Labour = 'spin' = Lies". That perception will last at least a generation. History will remember Alistair Campbell as more significant than Blair, just as Harry Corbett was more significant than Sooty.

I am concerned that Dave Cameron, in imitating the New Labour modus operandi, will associate the Tories - and all politicians - with the same perception. If the public decides that "Politicians = 'spin' = Lies", then the way is open for demagogues.

I already hear respectable people threatening to vote BNP "..to shake them all up.." Austrians voted for Joerg Haider - with similar intent - not so long ago. It could happen in Britain.

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